The Southern Tyrrhenian subduction system: recent evolution and neotectonic implications

A. Argnani

Abstract


Geological and geophysical data have been integrated with the aim of presenting a new evolutionary model for the Southern Tyrrhenian and adjacent regions. The Southern Tyrrhenian backarc basin opened within a plate convergence regime because of sinking and rollback of the oceanic Ionian lithosphere. On the basis of seismological observations, I infer that the sinking slab was torn apart on either side in the last 2 Ma and this process controlled the neotectonics of the Southern Apennines - Tyrrhenian region. On the north-eastern side the slab broke off from NW to SE and this process triggered volcanism and NW-SE extension along the Eastern Tyrrhenian margin, and strike-slip tectonics along NW-SE trending faults in Northern Calabria. On the south-western side the slab broke off from W to E along the Aeolian Island alignment, although the tear has currently been reoriented along the NNW-SSE Malta escarpment. During its sinking the subducted slab also detached from the overriding plate, favouring the wedging of the asthenosphere between the two plates and the regional uplift of the Calabrian arc and surroundings. This regional uplift promoted gravitational instability within the orogenic wedge, particularly towards low topography areas; the large-scale sliding of the Calabrian arc towards the Ionian basin can be the cause of CW rotation and graben formation in Calabria. Also the E-dipping extensional faults of the Southern Apennines can be related to accommodation of vertical motions within the fold-and-thrust belt. The pattern of recent seismicity reflects this neotectonics where crustal-scale gravity deformation within the orogenic wedge is responsible for extensional earthquakes in Calabria and the Southern Apennines, whereas Africa plate convergence can account for compressional earthquakes in Sicily.

Keywords


subducted slab;lithospheric tears;neotectonics;vertical motions;seismicity

Full Text:

PDF

References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3659
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it (Read more).
Ok


Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X